[ONLINE] University of Aveiro, Portugal

October 21, 22 and 23 2020

The inclusion of feminism in journalism during the dictatorship periods in Spain and Portugal

Carla Cerqueira
Dunia Etura

Feminism, as a plural movement, currently takes up great visibility in the public space. Recently, movements such as SlutWalk, #MeToo, Time´s up and 8M have been instrumental in placing feminism on the international media agenda. Even so, the first inclusions of feminism in the Spanish and Portuguese news media trace back to the final years of the dictatorship periods in both countries. Some noteworthy journalists of the period, such as Carmen Sarmiento and Maria Antónia Palla, began to include a feminist focus on the contents produced, with the objective of bringing to the public space further voices – namely women – and themes that raised the issue of gender inequalities endured.

From the early 1970s and onwards, the third feminist wave flooded societies in Western countries (Varela, 2013). In Spain and Portugal, due to the existing dictatorships and the political idiosyncrasies they presented, feminist movements had to wait until the celebration of the International Year of Women (designated by the UN in 1975) to achieve visibility. Until then, few initiatives took place, which created a stigma with regard to feminisms and feminists. However, some women journalists, who made their own way into the profession, became involved in the foundation of a new way of reporting, of counter-argument in the face of the prevailing model, in which women and certain themes (especially related to social inequalities) remained absent.

The present communication proposes to study the situation of women journalists in Spain and Portugal. We focus on the concrete analysis of two paradigmatic figures in the history of journalism and feminism in these countries: Carmen Sarmiento and Maria Antónia Palla, in order to understand the extent to which they were relevant to the introduction of feminist demands to the Spanish and Portuguese media agenda setting.

As such, the primary objectives of this proposal are to discern, through the journalistic work of Carmen Sarmiento and Maria Antónia Palla, how a new model of women arose, breaking with the homogenizing and submissive model that the dictatorships had established. At the same time, we intend to understand whether the contents developed by these journalists indeed intended to foster a knowledge of feminism and its theoretical proposals, as well as of the themes raised by the movements in both contexts. Therefore, in addition to the agenda issues brought up in their work, it is important to understand the frameworks used and how they were perceived socially.

To this end, in addition to analyzing the journalistic production of these professionals, we conducted an in-depth interview with Carmen Sarmiento and analyzed several interviews given at different times by Maria Antónia Palla, which allowed us to get to know the methods of informative work in a media-driven society shaped by dictatorial censorship.

Keywords: feminism, journalism, agenda setting, dictatorship, women journalists